Employees were told of the closure during a 6 a.m. meeting Thursday at the plant.
“We employ about 700 people at the Sacramento plant and unfortunately those jobs will be eliminated,” said Campbell Soup Company spokesperson Anthony Sanzio. “This is a tough day for the company, for the employees. No one likes to do this.”
The company says the Sacramento plant, built in 1947, is the oldest in its network and has the highest production costs on a per-case basis.
Many of the employees at the plant have worked there their entire lives, and several told CBS13 they had no idea what they’d do next.
“This is devastating, really devastating,” worker Valerie Starr said. “A lot of us have been working here for years and we’re at that age where it’s hard to find other jobs.”
Campbell’s Spokesman Explains Decision To Close
Most of Sacramento’s production of soup, sauces and beverages will be shifted to Campbell’s three remaining thermal plants in North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.
The company is also closing a spice plant in South Plainfield, New Jersey.
“We recognize this is difficult news for employees in Sacramento and South Plainfield. Campbell is committed to helping them work through this transition,” said Mark Alexander, president, Campbell North America. “We expect the steps we’re announcing today to improve our competitiveness and performance by increasing our asset utilization, lowering our total delivered costs and enhancing the flexibility of our manufacturing network. These actions also will eliminate the capital investments needed to maintain the Sacramento plant.”
The Sacramento plant is stopping production at the plant through this weekend. When it restarts, it will then begin to phase down production until it is officially closed down in July 2013.
Campbell does have several other facilities in California that will remain open. There are about 450 full-time and seasonal employees at its tomato processing plants in Dixon and Stockton. They also own Bolthouse Farms in Bakersfield.
The announcement comes just two days after Comcast announced it will close all three of its call centers in Northern California, including one is Sacramento, because of the high cost of doing business in the Golden State.
“For over 65 years, the Campbell’s plant has been a major employer in our region,” Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) said in a statement after Campbell’s announcement. “It is unfortunate that Campbell’s has chosen to close their oldest plant and in the process lay-off 700 employees. As the economy slowly improves, closures like Campbell’s and Comcast here in our own backyard, reminds us all that unemployment is still at over 10 percent and we have a long way to go until a full economic recovery.”
According to Comcast, 1,000 Comcast employees, including 300 in Sacramento, will see their jobs shifted to the other centers.